Music: My Warm Cloak and Magical Ray of Sanity

Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir sings “All of my help cometh from the Lord“. I totally agree with that and some of that help for me comes in the form of music. Music can be a powerful tool to help cope with the rollercoaster rides of life. It has the ability to soothe emotions, reduce stress, and create a sense of relaxation and calm. Music has been an integral thread in my life for as long as I can remember. I’ve always been a member of choir or some singing ensemble from mi yeye deh a mi knee (from my eyes were at my knees = from I was a child). Song service at church was always one of my favourite times. There’s just something about being able to belt out songs among people who believe the same things you do and get the same joy and tingles from the songs.

Anyone who knows me realizes pretty quickly that I love two things – music and movies – as I often interject lyrics and lines into everyday conversation. Yeah, just expect it. I may break into song as well, so it would be best to just take it all in stride😉. You’ll get used to it soon enough. What can make my day is when someone follows me up on a lyric or line. Do you do that? If you do, you are my spirit kinsfolk.

There are many reasons people listen to music. Here are a few of mine.

Music helps me wail

Popular advice says not to wallow in one’s sadness or stare into the abyss of negative emotions whirling around you. But sometimes I find it useful and even necessary to sit in crappy emotions – granted, some of the times I’m just too weary or fed up to do anything different. There are some beautiful, but sad, sad songs out there. I’ve found that with these songs, it’s not just about wallowing, but it’s that somebody who I’ve never met (and probably will never meet) has written a song that describes exactly how I felt at that time! For example, I love Breaking Benjamin songs. They are so burdened with heart-wrenching emotions that I’m actually tired when the song’s over because I feel like I’ve been through a journey. Dear Agony is one of those emotion-gripping songs that really helped me belt out the hurt, loneliness and suffering. Kevin Costner & Modern West’s Heavy Like the Rain is one of my favourites, too. I haven’t been officially diagnosed with depression, but there were some days when my thoughts went over to the dark side and escaping my life and responsibilities by any means was all I thought about.

Music helps me feel better when I fail (or feel like I’m failing)

Cue the inspirational pieces! A couple of weeks ago I discovered Natalie Grant’s version of You Will Be Found and trust me if I didn’t listen to that song several times every single day. A couple of others that gripped me were Lecrae’s I’ll Find You, Nightbirde’s It’s OK, and Thank God I Do by Lauren Daigle. These songs have helped me put one foot in front of the other (through tears at times) when I felt like the worst mother, Christian, employee and general human being in the world. When I felt truly alone in my motherhood struggles even among family and friends in similar situations. When the loneliness of being a divorcee pushing 45 with no romantic prospects squeezed the joy out of my life like a coat shrinking on me an inch every day. Songs like Elevation Worship’s Miracles helped me take things one at a time – one homework/project at a time, one work task at a time, one day at a time. They helped me find that one thin glowing thread to wrap around my pinky finger to pull me out of the sucking tar pit of overwhelming responsibilities. These songs have helped me settle my mind, to breathe because it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay…if you’re lost, we’re all a little lost and it’s alright, but still remember I’ve got miracles on miracles, a million little miracles…count your miracles – one, two, three, four, I can’t even count ’em all.

Music helps me sail

You know those mornings when you get up with gusto and energy to take the world by storm? Mornings when you get into work, have a great breakfast, kick procrastination out the door and actually start working when you said you would? Good times! Hey, I’ve got songs for those days, too. Train’s Hey Soul Sister never ceases to give me good vibes, as well as the beat in Despacito by Justin Bieber and company. Faith by Stevie Wonder and Ariana Grande is also a good one that gets my blood pumping, feet stomping, and shoulders shimmying! It’s great when I can undercover dance my way off the staff bus to my office then go full out when my door’s closed😁.

Music helps me block people out

I know this one may sound a bit asocial, but over the last ten years I have come to appreciate ‘me time’ (and what happens to me when I don’t get enough of it. The meaning of the ‘A’ in my name changes from Absolutely Adorable to Absolutely Annoyed.) I’ve also come to the serious realization that when I’m not ‘on the clock’, I don’t owe anyone my time or conversation. I spent years as a receptionist answering the phones, so before I reached work and after work was my time and unless you were a very good friend of mine, my earbuds are going in and I will completely ignore your presence. No guilt. Don’t care who thinks I’m being unfriendly or standoffish. Especially when I’m going through something and my mind is full, having my earbuds with me is great for encapsulating me in a bubble until I am ready to come out of it. Hear me now, I’m not this closed off all the time, I’m just saying I tend to guard my energy very carefully.

The High and Low Note of It All

Music may not help everybody like it helps me. I know sometimes things are so bad for me that I can’t even clear my mind enough to introduce anything else into my head. But, it’s an option. Music has power. It has life. It gives life. The right combo of melody and lyrics that can stir emotions is magical and can be helpful in dealing with the chaos of living. It’s a Band-Aid, not a cure, but even the worst wound needs something to take the edge off while we try to figure out how to treat the main issue.

So! Here’s my humble advice. Make a playlist – or ten. I have a couple – Happy Songs, Christian Songs, and Calming Songs. Call yours whatever floats your note. Let me know how it goes. Sing! Dance! And be merry, my friends!

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